Vernon Wells Rumors
The trade of the Angels' Vernon Wells to the Yankees appears to be on a path toward becoming official. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has tweeted that the two teams are in agreement. Wells himself has acknowledged the trade, and has cleaned out his locker. Here are some notes on the deal.
- For the Yankees, the trade is a sign of desperation, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan writes. "The reaction to the deal across baseball was a mix of wonderment and criticism," Passan reports, taking note of Wells' declining batting average and on-base percentage. Passan also writes that the Yankees' dependence on aging players such as Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson led to the rash of injuries that motivated their interest in Wells. The Yankees have alternatives in their own system who are better than Wells, Passan argues, including Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte.
- Richard Justice of MLB.com calls the Wells deal "a puzzling move," noting that the price the Yankees will pay -- likely somewhere around $13MM for two seasons -- is "no bargain." Wells "might not even be an upgrade over Brennan Boesch," Justice says. Ultimately, however, Justice describes Wells as "a gamble worth taking," thanks in part to his ability to play all three outfield positions.
- The trade would give the Angels' Peter Bourjos more breathing room, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. Bourjos was already the Angels' starter in center field, but with Wells gone, there will be less of a threat Bourjos will be replaced if he doesn't have a good start to the season.
Vernon Wells will be 35 years old when his $126MM contract expires following the 2014 season, at which point he expects to retire. The outfielder told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that his playing career will end after two more years.
Wells told Gonzalez that he intends to spend more time with his kids once he retires. Yet the three-time All-Star still expects to be involved in baseball. Wells hopes to own an MLB team at some point, and he plans to work with former teammate Torii Hunter. They plan on starting with a minor league team and progressing from there.
"It's definitely something we're interested in doing once we're both done playing," Wells told Gonzalez. "It's fun, man. Instead of playing fantasy GM, you're actually putting together your own team and learning what it takes to pretty much make money in an organization, especially in the minor leagues.”
Wells will earn $42MM between now and the end of the 2014 season, by which point he'll have earned more than $130MM during his playing career. Hunter will have earned $160MM at the MLB level by the time his two-year deal with the Tigers expires.
The Yankees aren’t expected to trade for Wells, even after losing Curtis Granderson for the beginning of the regular season. Wells posted a .230/.279/.403 batting line with 11 home runs in 262 plate appearances for the Angels in 2012.
Curtis Granderson’s broken arm could affect many teams around MLB, including the Angels. Now that the Yankees might be in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, it’s fair to wonder if Vernon Wells could be dealt to New York. However, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that the Angels will “probably not” send Wells to the Bronx.
Not only are the Angels unlikely to absorb enough of Wells’ contract to make a trade appealing for the Yankees, Wells provides the Angels with insurance against an injury of their own. The 34-year-old outfielder said he’s focused on the Angels, not the Yankees.
"It just stinks for them. It has nothing to do with me," Wells said. "I'm wearing an Angels uniform. I want to win in this uniform.”
Wells said he monitors trade rumors without obsessing over them, Shaikin reports. Now entering his third season with the Angels, Wells is set to earn a total of $42MM during the 2013-14 seasons. He posted a .230/.279/.403 batting line with 11 home runs in 262 plate appearances with Los Angeles last year, playing all three outfield positions.
As Tim Dierkes of MLBTR outlined yesterday, the Yankees will start by considering internal outfield options like Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. Out of options players and fringe outfielders could also capture the attention of Yankees GM Brian Cashman and other Yankees executives this spring.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:
- The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
- The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
- If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard." Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.
Earlier today, the Padres signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal and announced that they've avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson by agreeing to a one-year deal. Here's some more news out of baseball's West divisions...
- The Rockies are open to a multi-year deal with Dexter Fowler if Fowler and his agents at Excel Sports Management come up with a proposal to the club's liking, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. Colorado recently signed Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year deal despite previously saying they preferred one-year deals.
- Vernon Wells would prefer to remain with the Angels and prove to fans what he's capable of rather than be traded elsewhere with a chance to start (Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times reports on Twitter). Wells says he knows he has to earn a spot to play and that he has to work hard in order to do so.
- Major League Baseball isn't happy with the Dodgers' reported new TV deal, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale reports that the previous fair-market value for a new deal called for an $84MM annual value. The Dodgers agreed to a deal with Time Warner Cable earlier today that would provide the team with roughly $280MM annually. That number has created significant revenue-sharing concerns among MLB officials.
- Though the Rockies continue looking for starting pitching, they aren’t close to signing Carl Pavano or Derek Lowe, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Renck reported earlier this week that the Rockies were pursuing the free agent right-handers aggressively.
- The Rockies would love to sign free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a minor league deal, Renck reports. The veteran backstop played for the Rangers, Brewers and Blue Jays in 2012.
- The Yankees discussed Delmon Young internally, but didn’t have great reports on his performance, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Phillies signed Young to a one-year contract yesterday.
- Vernon Wells could spend much of the coming season on the Angels’ bench, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Wells is unlikely to be traded, yet he doesn’t project as a regular. Though the Angels explored deals involving Wells, owner Arte Moreno was never willing to absorb a substantial part of the $42MM remaining on Wells’ contract to complete a trade. Naturally other teams weren’t interested in paying Wells $21MM per season through 2014.
The Angels' Vernon Wells has been a trade candidate for quite some time but a source tells Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter) that it is now "very likely" that he will start the season with the Halos. Those odds have increased even more now that Delmon Young landed in Philadelphia. Here's more from around baseball..
- Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro told reporters that they plan to use Young as their starting right fielder, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Young, who may not be available to start the season as he recovers from ankle surgery, has not played the position in six years.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says that he hopes to work out a new contract with Adam Wainwright by Opening Day, tweets ESPN.com's Jim Bowden. For his part, the pitcher says that he isn't setting a deadline for talks.
- The acquisition of Rafael Soriano caught Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard by surprise, but he isn't in a rut over not getting the chance to close in 2013, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
- Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
- Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
- Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
- Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
- The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.
"The Los Angeles Dodgers ushered in 2012 with a divorce settlement," writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles in his recap of the busy year at Chavez Ravine, as the team's "year of courting" with its disillusioned fanbase grew to resemble "some obscene Hollywood wedding."
Here's the latest news on both the Dodgers and Angels...
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has always preferred to have a veteran backup catcher, which is why Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times wouldn't be surprised to see the team add an older backstop to compete with Tim Federowicz for the backup job behind A.J. Ellis. Federowicz, 25, has a .781 OPS in 2008 minor league plate appearances but just 20 Major League PAs over the last two seasons.
- The Angels don't have much backup outfield depth beyond Vernon Wells, writes Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Since the Halos will have to eat the large majority of Wells' contract in a trade anyway, Fletcher argues that the team should hold onto him to see if he can contribute anything as a reserve.
- Between adding Josh Hamilton and addressing their biggest problem at the back of the bullpen, MLB.com's Richard Justice wonders if the Angels have done enough to now be considered World Series favorites.
- The Yankees are not close to a trade for an outfielder, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the team continues to look for a right-handed bat, mentioning Vernon Wells, Scott Hairston, and Jeff Baker as targets.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Christian Red of The New York Daily News that there are no plans to further upgrade the team's rotation. New York re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte earlier this offseason.
- The Orioles removed Steve Pearce from the 40-man roster yesterday, and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com wonders if the club could be adding another player in his place. Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun hears to would be a "kick-the-tires" addition and not a big name.